Testing a Light Socket

 
A light's out and you've already determined that a burned-out bulb isn't the culprit. (And, just to be thorough, you've also checked the main service panel for a tripped breaker or a blown fuse.) What do you do next? Well, first you need to find out if power is actually getting to the light socket. Assuming it is, your next step is to verify that the light socket itself is at fault. Here's how to do both.

 

 

Remove the mounting screws, and carefully lower the socket. To test for current, touch one probe of the circuit tester to the screw terminal that's attached to a black wire. Touch the other probe to the ground screw, the bare copper wire, or the metal electrical box. Repeat this test with each of the other screw terminals. If the tester doesn't glow in any position, there's no power coming to the box.

 

With the power off, remove the socket. To test the socket (shown cut away), attach the clip of a continuity tester to the hot screw terminal (or the black wire lead), and touch the probe to the metal tab in the bottom of the socket. The tester should glow; if it doesn't, the socket is faulty and will need to be replaced.

 

Next attach the clip of the continuity tester to the neutral metal screw terminal (or the white wire lead), and touch the probe to the threaded portion of the socket. Again, the tester should glow. If it doesn't, the socket is faulty and will need to be replaced.

 

 

 
 

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